New Age pseudoscience is no match for COVID-19

In a break with a decades-long tradition, members of Australian Skeptics will not be attending this weekend’s Mind Body Spirit exhibition in Sydney’s Darling Harbour due to the dangers of the spread of COVID-19 and the ignorant attitudes of some exhibitors.

Attending would put our members at risk. Many of the pseudoscience modalities on display reject basic scientific concepts such as germ theory and pathogen transmission. We do not trust some of the exhibitors to understand the seriousness of the viral outbreak and the need for rigorous hygiene.

When exhibitors deny that there are such things as germs and when they oppose vaccination, then how could they offer anything that is not useless or dangerous? Some, such as the rabidly anti-vaccine group Australian Vaccination-risks Network, have even suggested that COVID-19 does not exist, but is “just a bad cold”.

In the past, we have uncovered various ‘medical’ testing machines which seem to do no real analysis and have no medical benefit at all. Given what we are now facing, such equipment is nothing short of outrageous.

“Not attending Mind Body Spirit is an extraordinary step for us,” said Tim Mendham, executive officer for Australian Skeptics Inc. “Many of our members have been regularly attending the exhibition of new age and alternative products and services for years. We have taken great interest in the goods on show, and have had interesting discussions with various suppliers about the methodology and efficacy of what they are offering.

“But because of the current situation with COVID-19, and the fact that at least some exhibitors have a minimal understanding – or even antipathy – to the scientific and medical issues involved, we are forced to make this move.

“Note that we are not asking that the exhibition be closed. We just feel that the public should be aware that some of the exhibitors at Mind Body Spirit have views that are diametrically opposed to the best evidence-based scientific and medical knowledge, an attitude that could be dangerous.”

The new age is no match for a real medical threat.

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